While Park Ridge Slept


With new O’Hare runway 9L/27R open and bringing a steady stream of planes over the southern half of Park Ridge for the past two weeks, a couple hundred people – many of them Park Ridge residents – showed up at the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (“ONCC”) meeting last Friday (Dec. 5) in Rosemont to angrily complain about the noise.

The consistent theme expressed by the residents who spoke, including Park Ridge Alderman Don Bach (3rd Ward) was: “We were lied to” by the Federal Aviation Adminstration (“FAA”) and the Chicago Dept. of Aviation about the number of daily flights and the size of the planes using the runway.

We don’t ever put it past King Richie Daley or federal bureaucrats to lie to anybody, especially when it comes to their grand, billion-dollar O’Hare expansion plan.  But we’re having a hard time finding any evidence of the kind of iron-clad promises or representations about the use of the new runways that people seem to be creatively remembering.  

The ONCC home page,, states that the new runway is designed to accommodate “planes as large as the 747” and is “intended mainly to be used for planes like “the Airbus A318, A319, A320, the MD-80, the DC-9 and the Boeing 727, 737, and 757.”  We couldn’t find any mention of Piper Cubs, Beechcraft Bonanzas, or even Gulfstream business jets.

This new runway plan was announced back in 2005 which, coincidentally, was the year Mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark was elected to the big chair at 505 Butler Place.  But we’ve been unable to find anything Frimark has done since taking office to try to minimize the adverse effects of this new runway on our community. 

Maybe that’s why it was no surprise that Mayor Howard was nowhere to be seen at Friday’s ONCC meeting.  Instead, Bach was there, criticizing Chicago and the FAA and – according to Saturday’s Chicago Tribune article (“Noise from new O’Hare runway angers Park Ridge residents”) – suggesting that Park Ridge might be better off re-joining the Suburban O’Hare Commission (“SOC”) from which it withdrew in 2003.

Just because the new runway is causing a lot of problems for Park Ridge, however, doesn’t make re-joining SOC a good solution – unless our goal is to help Bensenville and Elk Grove Village further enrich long-time SOC attorney Joe Karaganis by financing his endlessly unsuccessful court battles.

The sad fact appears to be that for the past three years, while Chicago was building its new $500 million runway, our City officials – starting with Mayor Frimark – were asleep at the switch and doing nothing – NOTHING – to address the potential problems that the new runway could cause. 

And they didn’t wake up until they heard the jet roar overhead.


4 comments so far

Very interesting today. I have only heard or seen a handfull of planes. By now, on a normal day, they would be driving me crazy. I do not know enough about runway proceedure but it does not seem like a day where the wind/weather would cause them to switch runways.

Very interesting!!

Don’t tell me you think Friday’s ONCC meeting scared Chicago into changing runways? After paying $500 million for that runway and looking for the extra tax revenue he can generate from jamming more flights into O’Hare, do you think that Daley is going to get scared of 200 PRs at one meeting?

Yeah, anybody who thinks O’Hare’s not going to use the new runway is nuts. I think Elvis has left the building on this deal, especially now that the airlines are trying to bail on the rest of the project and Daley doesn’t have the cash to do the rest himeslf.


That is not what I think at all. I only know airplanes and airports as a traveler, not an air traffic oontroller. Funny thing is as I write this, the planes are back. My comment earlier was more curiousity then anything. Again, I did not perceive any high winds or weather reasons that the traffic would have been on a different runway.

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


(optional and not displayed)